Underlayment – The Hidden Protector in Your Roofing System
Your roof is the protective barrier which Shields your home and everything within it from the harsh outdoor elements. What many consumers are not aware of, is that there is much more that goes into a roof than just what you see looking at the finished product. One of those unseen components is underlayment, which is the hidden protector in any complete roofing system. Maybe you’ve never heard of underlayment, as most consumers haven’t. But as you continue to read, you’ll realize just how important underlayment is in the protection of your roof and the security of your home every single day.
What exactly is roof underlayment?
Underlayment is the protective Shield or barrier, which during the installation process is placed beneath roofing shingles. Depending on the type, it is a waterproof or water-resistant barrier which adds an extremely important layer of moisture protection. Roofing underlayment can be manufactured from a variety of different materials, for different applications. Some of these types include – rubberized, synthetic, polyethylene and felt. Different types of roofing underlayment provide different types of protection for your overall roofing system.
Why Do You Need Underlayment? …and Why Is It an Absolutely Essential Component of ANY Superior Roofing System?
The first thing to realize is the way a roof is able to protect a home, from the various components which have been proven to work together to provide the highest level of protection. Underlayment, as mentioned previously, is a moisture barrier. And although asphalt shingles can of course protect your home from rain, snow, and ice, water can still get past shingles. Wind driven rain can push water between shingles and trapped meltwater from ice dams can back-up between shingles as well. Shingles can also be lifted by damaging winds, and even blow off. Beyond that, as shingles approach the end of their lifespan they can deteriorate and become hardened or brittle. It is the underlayment beneath those shingles which sits atop and protects the roof deck (the wooden layer which a roof is installed upon) from moisture. Where even if some moisture penetrates through or between the shingles, the underlayment remains intact to protect the structure. Underlayment is a second line of defense that adds peace of mind and is well worth the investment.
Different Types of Underlayment for Different Parts of Your Roofing System
What might surprise you is different portions of your roof will require different types of underlayment. Typically, the general or larger areas of the roof will require a water-resistant underlayment which offers excellent protection. Today synthetic underlayments are the most common to use in these locations. While other areas of your roof will require waterproof underlayment, known as Ice and Water Shield and also referred to as a Leak Barrier. This type of underlayment is a peel and stick rubberized membrane used in vulnerable areas such as eaves and valleys. Along with other areas which have a high potential to leak, those being around chimneys, skylights, sun tunnels and other roof penetrations like plumbing vent pipes and roof vents, for example. Any skilled roofing contractor will know that these vulnerable areas require additional protection. If you happen to be watching the roof installation, you should be able to visibly see the installers applying these different types of underlayments to the different parts of your roof.
How This Affects Your Roof Systems Warranty
When you request a quote from any reputable roofing contractor, you want underlayment to be clearly identified and outlined within your roofing estimate. One reason being, that in the event you need to take advantage of your warranty, you will have documentation that your roofing contractor installed a roof that follows the protocols which any and every roofing manufacturer recommends.
Your Roofs Ability to Protect Your Home Follows the Old Adage That “It’s Only as Strong as The Weakest Link”.
Roofing underlayment may just seem like a small part of a big roof. But… the lack of underlayment … or…. The incorrect installation of underlayment …. or…. The wrong underlayment… could spell disaster for your roof. And although underlayment is only one component of a complete roofing system, when done wrong …or… not done at all, your entire roof and home could be in jeopardy.
How to Make Sure Your Roof System Is Installed Properly from Top to Bottom.
Of course, you want to make sure your roof is installed correctly, but how can you be certain you’re dealing with a pro? One great way is to look for a certified roofing contractor, and I highly suggest you read the article I just linked to, prior to hiring anyone to work on your roof. The reason is that only a certified roofing contractor has been trained and approved by the roofing manufacturer to install a complete roofing system the way the manufacturer has designed it to protect your home most effectively. Also, by working with this type of roofing contractor, you will likely be entitled to enhanced warranty coverage, due to the manufacturer knowing their product is being installed the RIGHT way!
Do you need a roof replacement?
If you’re in the process of looking for a roofing contractor to replace your current roof, and want to skip the hassle of trying to find a roofing contractor who meets the criteria that we’ve laid out for you here, and in many of our other consumer resource articles, then contact us here at Gauthier Roofing and Siding. We are a certified “Master Elite” roofing contractor (known as one of the hardest credentials, if not the hardest, to achieve in the roofing industry) by GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, and we will outline specifically how we will install a truly superior roofing system which is backed by enhanced warranty coverage. Request an Estimate Today!
Roof Repair vs. Roof Replacement –
What to Know
When you experience a problem with your roof, it may seem tempting to first go with the quick, cheap fix. But those kinds of solutions typically end with more money and time being spent later on down the road. And even if you wanted to put the time and money in to completely fix it, it’s not always easy to determine whether a repair or a complete roof replacement is what’s truly required.
This leads us to the big question: repair, or replacement? Read on to learn about the differences, and based on our expertise, which you should choose.
Sometimes, all you need to do to fix your roof is replace a few shingles. If that’s the case, this can definitely be an inexpensive and effective way to solve a roof problem… Sometimes.
Before deciding on a roof repair, it’s helpful to consult a roofing professional. If some shingles have come off, that may mean part of your roof is now exposed to moisture and water. You’ll want to make sure there are no underlying problems in this area before doing any sort of repair, to prevent the potential for much greater problems down the road.
It’s also good to keep in mind that the shingles have been exposed to the harsh elements of nature, including sun fading. Meaning, they’re probably going to look different than any unused shingles you may have stored away or newly purchased shingles. If a shingle replacement is required on a widely viewable part of your roof, understand that your roof may not look uniform once the repair is done.
In addition, installing new shingles to replace missing or damaged shingles involves disturbing and bending the shingles around them and if they are older they become brittle and may crack when disturbed, preventing this type of repair.
Patching is very rarely the right solution for roof problems and is generally not recommended by roofing contractors. It can be less expensive than re-roofing if the issue is localized, but isn’t necessarily more affordable in the long run. Especially considering patching a roof is usually noticeable from afar, thus affecting the general aesthetics and appearance of the roof. In addition, sometimes the foot traffic to get to the patched area causes harm to the areas that remain.
If the patch isn’t a complete area or slope that doesn’t have safe termination points (like at a ridge or outside edge, for example, where shingles don’t connect together) then it involves tying into existing shingles and this may not be possible as noted above with minor shingle replacement, when the existing shingles are too old and brittle to work with. Even if they aren’t too old, cooler temperature alone will cause them to be brittle, meaning the repair has to be done in warmer temperatures. This may mean a tarp until that’s possible.
Even shingles that still have a reasonable amount of life/warranty left in them may not be suitable for a tie-in repair. The best way to think of it is like a potato chip, left undisturbed it’s fine, but when you bend it, it will crack.
Sometimes a contractor may offer to simply shingle over your current roof instead of replacing it. This may help the general appearance at a lower cost than replacement, but it likely won’t fix any problems that were going on with the original roof and it prevents the inspection of the roof deck, which oftentimes provides evidence of issues that need to be addressed, not to mention rotten wood replacement. It’s easy to spot trouble when the old roof is removed, but when roofing over an existing roof that’s not often the case.
You also don’t have the option to install underlayment’s beneath the shingles, as they have to be installed directly to the roof deck and when it does come time to completely replace your roof, you will have to pay to tear up and dispose of more layers of shingles. Plus, shingling over reduces the lifespan of the shingles and weakens the manufacturer’s warranty. This option is never recommended.
Total Roof Replacement
If it is an older roof, or showing signs of wear, replacing it is usually the best solution. Look for wet spots on your ceiling or mold in your home or attic for signs of water related problems. Left unresolved, moisture can cause significant damage to your roof and home. A sagging roof is also a sign that immediate replacement is necessary. Even improper ventilation can cause moisture problems that appear to be roof leaks.
It’s also important to be aware of the type of asphalt shingle you have, organic or fiberglass based. Fiberglass based shingles are far superior to the organic based shingles of the past, especially in terms of longevity. If your shingles are nearing the end of their life expectancy, it is advisable to remove and replace them and, as mentioned earlier, never shingle over an existing roof.
Which to Choose?
A roof is an integral part of any home and things can unfortunately get costly when problems arise. If it’s a minor dent, a simple shingle might do the trick. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to get a professional opinion. A roof protects your home, which for most people is their greatest asset, but more importantly it protects your family.
At Gauthier Roofing and Siding, we use fiberglass based laminate style shingles and advanced installation techniques, combined with enhanced warranty coverage, so that your new roof will protect your home against the elements and look great while doing it. Repair or replacement? Let us help guide you through the process.